The afternoon Art & Soul session includes a very interesting session about the Christian Fiction industry.
There were a series of questions posted by John Wilson, the moderator, with some interesting answers. Below are some of the highlights.
Trends in Publishing
Is there a particular trend going on in publishing?
The CBA market is the fastest growing market segment.
We’re seeing a large blurring of what a CBA book is these days. There used to be a very specific notion of what Christian Fiction was — very clean, no language — due to the increasing popularity of Christian fiction books, a lot of those lines are beginning to grey and blur. Many new books have very little [overt] Christian content.
Paraclete Press to Resume Fiction Novel Contest
Last year Paraclete Press hosted a literary fiction award at the Calvin festival for full-length novels. Leif Enger was the judge. Paraclete Press acquired rights to the winner and 3 of the finalists. Lil Copan announced that they plan to make this an ongoing, bi-annual event.
Themes Publishers See Too Much
Is there [a type of fiction] that if you see another example of you’ll vomit….
Chick Lit. Everything we see [in Chick Lit] is just cliché. The cookie cutter effect.
The other one [is] Left Behind.
John Wilson on Dan Brown:
You think, “Oh God it can’t get any worse than this”, and then you see the imitation book!
Dan Brown clones. Books on grief.
I’m starting to develop an allergy to Celtic spirituality.
On Ecumenical Trends
Lil Copan said:
Lot of people interested in the intersection of faith and literary fiction. In liturgical press, Catholic & Episcopal, lot’s of richness and history there for the literary fiction marketplace.
[noting the recent death of Pope John Paul II]
There is far more crossing of barriers between different streams of Christian traditions.
Eerdman’s comes out of Dutch Calvinist tradition. There is more dialog between Orthodox and Protestants than there once was.
We’ve been purposeful in our ecumenical approach. We publish books by Orthodox, Presbyterians, and Mennonites. Frederica Mathewes-Green is as an example. A lot of people are interested in what another tradition has to say about spiritual silence.
We’re seeing a recovery of the earliest Christian writings, such as The Desert Fathers.